One Tuesday night, I was super excited to joined a group of designers, bloggers, photographers, press, students, and other cool people for an advance screening of the documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s. Here’s a quick synopsis from the PR material.
“It’s the most mythic of all American emporiums – and the scene of many an ultimate fashion fantasy. Now audiences get a rarified chance to peek behind the backroom doors and into the reality of the fascinating inner workings and fabulous untold stories from Bergdorf Goodman’s iconic history in Matthew Miele’s Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s. The legend, the parties, the fashion idols, the windows, the women, the buyers and shoppers — and most of all, the quintessentially American dreams of New York’s high-fashion hot-spot – all come to life in an ode to a realm where creativity and commerce reign equally supreme. With a light touch, Miele explores not just the glamour but the passion behind the daily creation of this luxury mecca in a film as dynamic, lush and intimate as the store itself.”
On the surface, it seems like a bit of a fluff piece; a look at the people that make high fashion luxurious and a bit inaccessible. I figured it would be fun to hear designers talk about “making it” by being at Bergdorf and buyers talking about why it’s essential that they remain exclusive. My friends, I want you to know that it was that and SO MUCH MORE.
I wish I could write for ten pages about how moving the story was, the way each visual took my breath away. But I’d be here all night writing, and no one is going to read that much. So I’ll share with they the highlights that made the movie for me.
- Michael Kors telling the story of being discovered by Dawn Mello while dressing a window with his designs. He was in a boutique just across the street from Bergdorf’s and she was walking by and loved his pieces. He didn’t even have a full collection yet!
- The journey through the creation of the holiday windows. David Hoey and his team outdo themselves every year with the holiday windows and this year does not disappoint. The windows are a marvel of artistry, design, and craftsmanship.
- Linda Fargo. The woman is a powerhouse of style and design. She is instrumental in finding new designers to sell at Bergdorf’s and is the final word on who gets in. She is front row at all of the must see fashion shows, but (unlike the icy Anna Wintour) makes herself endlessly available and approachable to anyone in the industry.
- The designers. A who’s who of famous and up-and-coming names tell their stories of getting into Bergdorf’s, what it meant for them and for their collections, the rare and caring relationship with the store, the employees and the customers, and the feeling of “making it” once you see your clothes there.
- Betty Halbreich. There are not words to describe this amazing woman. She has worked in personal shopping at Bergdorf’s for over 30 years, dressing celebrities, socialites, and consulting on movie and TV wardrobes. Her no-nonsense attitude and tough love approach ensure her clients always come back. She is a trip!
There are so many more things I could talk about; the story of the Goodman family, the impact of the recession of 2008, the parties, the employees, and more. But really, I recommend you see it for yourself. Even if you have no interest in fashion, (in which case, why are you reading my blog??) the passion and the history is enough to keep you wanting more from this story even after the credits roll.
The movie opens today, and is playing at the Regal Arbor here in Austin. I highly recommend you check it out. If you don’t want to go alone, I’d be more than happy to accompany you!